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Former Kentucky point guard Anthony Epps, a starter on UK’s 1996 national championship team, will watched a lot of college basketball. That’s why he knows the challenge UK faces Saturday night against Missouri point guard Frank Pressey.
“He is one of the better point guards in the country,” said Epps, an assistant girls basketball coach at Marion County. “It will be a challenge for RyanHarrow and Jarrod Polson to step up and contain him. Florida did a great job the first time containing him (in an 83-52 win) but in the second game Tuesday he got loose and gave Missouri the chance to win. He is the key to Missouri’s team. Kentucky has to do a good job finding him and containing him.”
Pressey averages 11.8 points and almost seven assists per game. His 179 assists are 17 more than Harrow and Julius Mays, UK’s top two in assists, have combined.
“That is the matchup everybody has been waiting for. I know I am going to work hard and he will. We will just have to see who comes out on top,” Harrow said after scoring 12 points in UK’s win over Vanderbilt Wednesday.
Pressey helped Missouri upset Florida 63-60 Tuesday — one week after the Gators beat UK by 17 points.
Missouri coach Frank Haith says he doesn’t need any heroics from Pressey, who has 48 steals in 26 games, against UK.
“We just need Phil to be Phil. I think we have had games where he didn’t have to score and we won convincingly. We need other guys taking on that role so it doesn’t come down to how he does is how we go,” Haith said. “He has a great feel for the game and he is a good athlete. He has a good burst with the ball. I think Phil has that ability that he can affect a game in a positive way and not score as long as he focuses on bringing out the best in other. That is a great quality to have and I think he has that quality.”
Goodwin knows UK’s guard play needs to be stellar against Missouri.
“I think we played a lot better (against Vanderbilt). We only had seven turnovers and that speaks how we handled the ball. With us playing the way we did, he (coach John Calipari) gave us a lot more freedom to play and not think so much about having to do so much and just react to what the defense gave us,” Goodwin said.
Harrow said making shots against Vanderbilt after not scoring in the previous two games helped his confidence along with the way Calipari changed the offense to open the court more to let him and Goodwin drive.
“Today was the first day that I actually hit a man with a crossover. That is something I have not done for a long time. It got me back into the game and making moves and blowing past a person,” Harrow said.
He also fouled out of his second straight game, something Calipari doesn’t want if it involves careless fouls like he got Wednesday.
“My mom was like, ‘I don’t care that you foul out as long as you are playing physical or playing hard.’ I am just trying to play a little bit harder, but I can’t make silly fouls against Pressey,” Harrow said.